No Brexit deal better than 'bad deal', UK's May says

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech on leaving the European Union at Lancaster House in London, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday that not reaching a deal with the European Union would be better than concluding a bad exit deal for Britain and warned leaders of the 27 other members not to try to punish Britons for voting to leave.

May has said she would start two years of talks on leaving the bloc by the end of March and on Tuesday she outlined her plans for the upcoming negotiations.

“I must be clear Britain wants to remain a good friend and neighbor to Europe,” she said.

“Some voices are calling for a punitive deal, that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path. That would be an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe and it would not be the act of a friend.”

She said Britain would not accept such an approach but was sure a positive outcome could be reached.

“I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.”

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Stephen Addison